Florida State coach Mike Norvell has cautioned fans and media not to take too much stock in the team’s depth charts. But there were two glaring omissions on Monday in what the team released to the public.
Defensive tackle Marvin Wilson, who did not play on Saturday against Pittsburgh, is not listed. Norvell said after the FSU-Pitt game that Wilson had been battling some injuries. Wilson was on the sideline Saturday. He has 17 tackles, a sack and has blocked three kicks this season.
Offensive lineman Devontay Love-Taylor, who went out with an injury in the first half, is also not listed.
“Devontay is a guy who is our leader,” offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham said. “He’s the guy who communicates. He’s the guy who gets everybody on the same page. There’s a reason he’s been our offensive captain for, I believe, six straight weeks now, because of the leadership for all those young guys up front. Because we are extremely young up front, when you have a guy like him, who can communicate to everybody, that’s huge.”
Norvell said he did not want to speak about personnel or availability until midweek.
“I’ll give all our personnel updates probably on Wednesday just as we get a better sense to get through the week in regards to availability and any changes that we have from a personnel standpoint,” Norvell said.
Safety Hamsah Nasirildeen is again listed on the depth chart, as he has been since the Miami game. Nasirildeen has not played this season. Nasirildeen was on the sideline on Saturday against Pitt.
Upon further review
Norvell has had multiple looks at the film since Saturday’s game. He reflected first on the impact the short fields had on FSU’s defense, which “definitely created more challenging situations.”
“Defensively really got put in some tough spots,” Norvell said. “It was one of the first games that were truly dominated in the field-position battle. The three turnovers contributed to 21 points.”
Said defensive coordinator Adam Fuller: “We’re in a tough situation there in those scenarios, but our job is to make sure we limit points. That didn’t happen in those situations, whether it was fourth down or turnovers.”
Norvell was asked about the fourth-down calls and going for it three times. FSU converted on 1 of 3 opportunities, but two were short and set up Pitt with short fields.
“Those are things that you play in the moment, you obviously know the data that we have, the thought process of what we think is needed throughout the course of a game and maximizing possessions,” Norvell said. “And put our guys in the best position to go be successful. I usually regret every play that doesn’t work, whether it’s first down or fourth down. I was really pleased that one of those decisions didn’t ultimately cost us. But it’s one of those things that you have to have confidence and faith in those decisions that you make. Unfortunately it didn’t work out for us.”
Going away from the run
FSU trailed most of the second half, but the Seminoles ran 26 times in the first half compared to just nine after halftime. While FSU trailed 14 points in the third quarter there were opportunities to run that didn’t develop, sometimes because of down and distance and others by a quarterback’s decision.
“One time in the first half and a few times in the second half we took perimeter (pass play) when we didn’t need to,” Dillingham said. “We had a good box count (number of defenders up near the line). And that’s just a learning experience for our guys is understanding, ‘Hey, press corner out there. Let’s hand the ball off and let’s go and get three or four yards and make it second-and-6, second-and-7.’ And that showed up a few times. In those situations, when you face a good football team, there was one perimeter throw we took for -4 (yards), which we shouldn’t have thrown. And when you have that happen three to four times in the football game that takes three to four good runs out of it. And not only does it take three to four good runs out of it, it usually takes you from a second-and-6 or a second-and-7 to a second-and-11 or second-and-10, which when you play defense like Pitt is a drastic difference out there in how they are going to play because it’s going to take them from their four-down base defense to their three-down odd front, which is built to cause chaos and where they load the box. So pretty simple decisions, but they were pretty drastic in the overall plan.”
Analyzing Purdy’s performance
Chubba Purdy completed 12 of 21 passes for 38 yards and his interception was returned 50 yards for a touchdown. Under constant pressure, it was tough to evaluate some pieces of his performance but Norvell was pleased with his effort and energy.
“He had a couple tremendous effort plays, being able to extend things with his legs,” Norvell said. “On a third down where he ultimately sold out in all regards to go get a first down, pop right up. I thought his leadership and the charisma in which he carries himself with on the field is something that was impressive with me. He made some mistakes. The pick-six is something we can’t have. It’s something he saw the right thing, just the execution of what to do and where to go is something he’s going to continue to improve on. That’s one thing with young quarterbacks, sometimes they just can’t get their eyes right. Chubba’s eyes are going to the right places, he understands the steps of it, it’s just the execution of it and the repetition that’s necessary.”
Special teams miscues
Parker Grothaus made a 47-yard field-goal attempt and Alex Mastromanno averaged 44.8 yards per punt. But Norvell lamented some shortcomings in the return and coverage game.
“It was evident,” Norvell said. “We knew. It was the worse performance we’ve had on special teams this year. As much team as we pour into that, we’ve got to perform better. We keep track of all those things, the hidden yardage that shows up that most people don’t talk about…we had some missed opportunities where our fundamentals just didn’t show up, our communication didn’t show up.”
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